On Saturday, everyone tuned in to the Prefontaine Classic to watch Sha’Carri Richardson’s return to the track against the three Jamaican 100m medalists. It was must-see TV for all.
While Sha’Carri’s performance was disappointing, track fans were thrilled.
They watched in awe as Elaine Thompson-Herah blazed through the line in 10.54. That was the fastest time of the year, a meet record, and a personal best for the Olympic gold medalist. That’s also the second-fastest 100m in history, .05 seconds behind Flo Jo’s world record of 10.49 set in 1988.
Her fellow Jamaican sprinters, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson completed the Prefontaine sweep, respectively.
Sha’Carri finished last.
Social media lit up in the aftermath. Some threw their support behind Sha’Carri while others ripped her.
To be fair, this was her first race after being suspended. The physical toll of missing that time is one thing, but the mental battle she fought was exhausting.
Plus, she’s only 21, so she has plenty of time to mount a comeback.
While Team Jamaica won the event and the “trolling” spectacle afterward, track and field won the weekend.
For a sport that only receives true recognition during an Olympic year, the attention and hype that it got from the race’s promotion were what the sport both needed and deserved.
Fans, both casual and die-hard, got to see how amazing track athletes are. They got to feel how exciting the sport truly is. For those of us who have competed, it was a boon elevating our love for the sport.
Now track needs to capitalize on this swell of attention and coverage.
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